Teenage Wasteland – Rediscovering ‘Foxes’ (US 1980 – 106 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 26, 2015

A first-rate drama that’s both well acted and memorable, ‘Foxes’ holds a special place in the heart for many of those who saw it growing up. It wasn’t your typical high-school drama, and was not afraid to realistically deal with topics including drug addiction and unwanted pregnancy, while also throwing in some teenage tragedy.

The story centers on a group of four teenage girls and their problems, in the Hollywood Boulevard area of Los Angeles during the late 1970s. The sensible and caring Jeanie (Jodie Foster) is the glue that binds the group together, while the unpredictable Annie (Cherie Currie) is …

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Walls Have Ears – Rediscovering ‘The Psychic’ / ‘Sette note in Nero’ (Italy 1977 – 95 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 23, 2015

One of Lucio Fulci’s lesser talked about movies, ‘The Psychic’ came just before his zombie trilogy which began with 1979’s ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’, followed by ‘City of the Living Dead’ (’80), and ending with my personal favourite ‘The Beyond’ (’81). A dark and sometimes disturbing thriller, I think ‘The Psychic’ is one of his best movies and has a much wider appeal than perhaps his more well-known splatter pictures.

When Virginia (Jennifer O’Neill) starts experiencing psychic visions, she stumbles upon a murder which sees her wealthy husband Francesco (Gianni Garko) implicated in the killing. With the help of her psychic researcher …

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Rogues, Rebels and Wrong-doers – Remembering Steven Keats (1945–1994)

Remember ‐ February 19, 2015

A Vietnam veteran from the Bronx, the terrific cult actor Steven Keats often played characters on the edge of society or the wrong side of the law. A versatile performer who also worked on stage, he gave a realism to many of his parts and appeared in some of the best movies from the 1970’s, co-starring with cult stars including Robert Mitchum, Charles Bronson and Robert Shaw.

Born in New York on February 6th, 1945, Keats graduated from Manhattan’s High School for Performing Arts, before serving in the Air Force from 1965 to ’66. Later, Steven studied drama for a while …

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No Way Out – Rediscovering ‘Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl’ / ‘Tian yu’ (China 1998 – 99 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 16, 2015
No Way Out – Rediscovering ‘Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl’ / ‘Tian yu’ (China 1998 – 99 mins)

The compelling and moving Chinese drama ‘Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl’, is a beautifully told tale that manages to both stir and enrage you, while still being able to show numerous touching moments in between the harshness of the story.

It’s 1975 during the Cultural Revolution in China. After being sent away from home to a faraway part of Sichuan for manual work, teenager Xiu Xiu (Xiaolu Li) has to endure the loneliness and isolation of the remote countryside. Some time later she is sent to help a Tibetan herdsman; Lao Jin (Lopsang) with his horses, but it’s not long before …

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Stuffy Servants & Overbearing Officials – Remembering Richard Wattis (1912 – 1975)

Remember ‐ February 13, 2015

In the 1950’s and 60’s, it seemed to me that just about every British movie had either Cyril Chamberlain, Victor Maddern or Richard Wattis in it. A prolific and instantly recognisable character actor, with his balding hairline and often bespectacled appearance, Richard Wattis specialised in snobbish authority figures, and comfortably mixed small comedy fare with large-scale blockbusters, often working with some of the biggest directors of the time. If it was a stuffy civil servant you required, you needn’t look any further!

Born in Staffordshire, England on February 25th 1912, Wattis began onscreen with uncredited parts in numerous pictures including ‘A …

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Life’s a Lottery – Rediscovering ‘Loser Takes All!’ / ‘Qui Perd Gagne!’ (France 2003 – 92 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 11, 2015

How does one man win the national lottery twice? Well, watch the excellent French mystery ‘Loser Takes All!’, and you may found out!

An almost unheard of movie, it has a hook that grabs you right from the off and, while the film is both clever and sometimes confusing, the central plot could not be more simple.

Serge Vaudier (Maurice Benichou), a mathematics professor, does the seemingly impossible; he wins the national lottery twice. Compulsive gambler Jacques Loriot (Thierry Lhermitte) and his government worker girlfriend Angèle (Elsa Zylberstein) set about trying to discover his so-called winning formula. When the public begin to …

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Poignant Pen Pals – Rediscovering ‘Love Letter’ (Japan 1995 – 118 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 08, 2015

Also known as ‘When I Close My Eyes’, the beautiful Japanese movie ‘Love Letter’ is one of those touching timeline movies that Eastern cinema excels in. Affecting without being overly sentimental, it tells (with flashbacks) the story of two women who love (in differing ways) the same man.

Following the memorial service for her fiancé, Hiroko (Miho Nakayama) comes across his high-school yearbook. In her loneliness she writes a letter to him and sends it to his old address in the North of Japan, which she finds in the book. Thinking no more of it, Hiroko is astonished to receive a …

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Power Trip – Rediscovering ‘The Bunny Caper’ (US 1974 – 90 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 04, 2015

Also known as ‘Games Girls Play’, ‘The Bunny Caper’ is your typical Seventies sex comedy, a playful farce featuring willing performers in ridiculous situations. In this overpopulated genre I think it’s one of the better ones, and is one that moves along at a brisk pace, beginning in Washington and soon locating to London where the story takes off.

The sex-crazed daughter of a wealthy businessman, Bunny O’Hara (Christine Hart) has bedded some of the most powerful men in the US government. When a top General becomes nervous of Bunny’s inside knowledge, he sends her and her ambassador father to …

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Eccentrics, Maids and Memorable Monsters – Elsa Lanchester (1902 – 1980)

Rewind ‐ February 02, 2015

With her large eyes and upturned nose, Elsa Lanchester was not your conventional film beauty, but with her vast talent and distinctive qualities, she went on to have a fantastic career spanning 55 years, even if she was often typecast as the lovable spinster or dotty old woman.

Born Elizabeth Lanchester Sullivan in London, on October 28th 1902, Elsa held early dreams of becoming a dancer, and by 1922 was busy performing on stage. In 1924 she opened a nightclub in London, but closed it in 1928 as her film career was starting to take off. The following year …

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“Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief” – Rediscovering ‘The Greengage Summer’ (UK 1961 – 99 mins)

Rediscover ‐ January 28, 2015

Known in the US as ‘Loss of Innocence’, Lewis Gilbert’s ‘The Greengage Summer’ is a colourful coming-of-age drama with an absorbing central mystery. Shot among the beautiful country landscapes in the champagne region of France, I think it’s a gentle and engaging movie with touches of humour and intrigue.

When their mother is taken ill while on a French vacation, it’s up to 16 year old Joss (Susannah York) to be carer to her three siblings. Stranded at the Hotel Oeillets run by Mademoiselle Zisi (Danielle Darrieux), charismatic stranger; Eliot (Kenneth More) pleads with Zisi to let them stay. She agrees, …

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